GRAEME Dott struggled to explain what went wrong after he failed to reach the quarter-final stage at the UK Snooker Championships yesterday.
Dott slipped to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of reigning champion Mark Selby in York as he bids to become the first man since Stephen Hendry to win back-to-back titles.
And former world champion Dott, who had beaten 2012 UK semi-finalist Ali Carter in the third round at the Barbican, was left bemused by his display.
All Dott, ranked at No 16 in the world, could muster was that perhaps the fourth round was better than he deserved, considering the standard of his snooker in the past week.
“I was outplayed all the way through it,” he said. “I thought Mark was better than me at everything. I never played well, I never showed up and it is disappointing.
“There’s nothing much you can do. Some of the balls I was even potting, I wasn’t hitting them right.
“I just couldn’t get through the cue ball for some reason and struggled all day.
“I have no idea. You get days like that where you can’t cue – I just couldn’t get through the white. But Mark played well and easily deserved to win.
“I’ve won three matches. From the way I’ve played it’s all I’ve deserved really – to win three matches.”
Dott found himself 3-1 down early on at the Barbican but, after pulling back the next frame, he ran Selby close for the sixth to almost draw level.
The world No 2 produced a vital clearance to restore his two-frame lead, though – and Dott is convinced he would still have lost from 3-3.
He said: “I’m not saying if I had won that it might have changed because I might still have played the way I was playing, but I was starting to find a little bit of momentum.”
Dott’s exit leaves Stephen Maguire as the sole Scot standing at the UK Championships after he beat compatriot John Higgins on Tuesday night.
Dott would love to see Maguire lift the UK title for a second time, having won in 2004, but he knows there are plenty of great players for him to get past.
“Everybody that’s left in it could win it – unless they play like me,” he added. “Stephen has obviously got a good chance as well – I hope Stephen goes on and wins it.”
Selby said: “I knew it was going to be tough, and it turned out to be tough.
“I’ve ended up winning 6-2 but it could have easily been 3-3. I took a good finish out to go 4-2, which might have ended up being the turning point.”
Dott’s defeat ended his hopes of qualifying for next month’s Masters, meaning Joe Perry’s place is assured ahead of his last-16 clash with his friend Neil Robertson.
Earlier, Ding Junhui’s bid for a historic fourth straight ranking title ended and Judd Trump also crashed out.
Ding had won the Shanghai Masters, the Indian Open and the International Championship, and victory in York would have brought him the longest run of ranking triumphs since Stephen Hendry’s five in 1990.
But Ricky Walden pulled out a hard-fought 6-4 win after a tense finish to the tenth frame.
Trump led 3-1 despite a 98 from Allen in frame three and remained clear at 4-2 before Allen pulled one back.
Both players had chances in a scrappy eighth frame, Allen responding to one of Trump’s misses by hugging his opponent as he returned to his chair.
It came down to the black and after Trump missed a tough pot with the rest and then pushed the ball over the middle pocket, Allen potted it to level at 4-4.
He took the next with a break of 65 and made 54 off a fluke in the 10th, before another piece of luck left Trump hampered by the blue and he handed Allen a frame-winning chance.
Trump was frustrated to lose after a performance from Allen which he described as “awful”. “It just turned into a bit of a club game, to be honest,” he said. “It’s frustrating because I felt like so far I’ve played the best snooker in the whole tournament.”
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